CA Updates IT Service Catalog; Service Accounting

The new version of CA's Unicenter Service Catalog includes an enhanced Web sales interface.

Enterprise management provider CA on August 6 moved to align its service level management suite more closely with the recently released IT Infrastructure Library Version 3.

The company, which is based in Islandia, N.Y., released new versions of its Unicenter Service Catalog and Unicenter Service Accounting programs that incorporate new ITIL Version 3 recommendations on how to more closely align IT services with business requirements.

The new Unicenter Service Catalog Release 11.2 includes an enhanced Web interface that allows users to order services as if buying products from an ecommerce site, as well as a series of templates that help automate the steps required to fulfill specific service requests.

"Weve delivered a Web store interface designed to make searching and managing orders for services more efficient and user friendly," said Robert Stroud, IT Service Management Evangelist at CA.

At the same time the new release includes custom forms and templates that allow users to automate the delivery and execution of the service fulfillment process. For example, the process of fulfilling the request for a laptop with appropriate approvals, budgeting and configuration based on the users role with the correct access privileges can be automated.

/zimages/3/28571.gifTo read more about the Unicenter Service Catalog, click here.

"The Service Catalog allows IT to configure policies and rules to make that happen in a streamlined fashion. It allows for more predictable delivery by IT and it allows repeatable processes to be automated," said Stroud.

Beta testers of the new release at the defense electronics firm EFW in Fort Worth, Texas found the Unicenter Service Catalog created a lot of happy users, according to Harry Butler, III, EFWs support center manager.

Where users were once required to run around with forms trying to get the right signatures for approval of service requests, they can now have that process done electronically.

"Now I have an online catalog that has all the options, makes it easier on the user, and has all the electronic signatures," said Butler.

"And boy are they happy. I cant build the services fast enough for the users," added Butler.

EFW has extended the Unicenter Services Catalog beyond IT to automate Human Resource processes, and EFW also hopes to extend it to the factory floor, he said.

In Version 3 of ITIL, the service catalog was elevated to a separate process, rather than being a part of service level management.

"To think through building a catalog, testing it, delivering it and having customers use it, then adjust the look and feel, is a separate process and a key communication (vehicle) between the business and IT. Used effectively it can insure that what the business consumes is listed in terms the business user understands, and it can embed all the elements in the back end that IT needs to know to deliver the service," said Stroud.

The new version also allows IT to define service level agreements, execute manual and automatic notification of catalog requests, combine appropriate documents with requests and create management reports.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about Unicenters ability to manage virtual servers and server clusters.

The new Unicenter Service Accounting Release 11.2 allows IT to accurately charge-back business units for services by providing budgeting and planning controls as well as costing, based on actual IT service usage. It gathers in-depth metrics on the consumption of IT resources across business units and translates the consumption into accurate cost data.

"We are providing a solution to help our customers understand how they are delivering IT and deliver financial transparency back to the business," said Stroud.

With the growing interest in adopting ITIL best practices, more and more point catalog competitors are entering the market, which Stroud takes as a good indication of market growth.

"I expect the major enterprise (management) players will all come out with solutions," he predicted. Some already market that capability, he added.

The new releases are available now. The Unicenter Service Catalog lists for $19,200 for 2000 users, and the Unicenter Service Accounting program is $28,000 for 2000 users.

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